Women In Trades

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 1.7 percent of electricians in the United States are women? In honor of International Women’s Day, read about how Jenny Conrardy, an MPTC electrical apprentice, is sparking change in the trades.

In 2021, Conrrardy began working at Current Electric in Wauwatosa. Soon after she started, Conrardy proved herself a hardworking, dedicated employee and was selected for an apprenticeship to gain electrical training at Moraine Park. She specializes in photovoltaic energy.

“It’s not a secret that trade careers offer high-paying, reliable jobs, and women deserve to have high-paying jobs,” Gus Boyle Gustavus, Moraine Park electricity instructor, said. “My observations have been that many women tend to still believe that trade workplaces are rough and unaccepting. I have been working in male-dominated occupations my entire life and have always had colleagues who want to see me be successful and pave the way for other women.”

Through her apprenticeship, Conrardy earns a wage while she attends her classes, and her employer pays tuition and book expenses. She attends class one full day every other week, making it easier to maintain income and learn at the same time.

“The trades are a great fit for any person who loves to work with their hands and problem solve,” Conrardy said. “The trades have historically been a white, male-dominated industry, but I think there is a lot of room and willingness in the industry to open that demographic right now. Not just for women, but also for people of color and the LGBTQ community. I encourage people to take that first step, don’t let anyone say no and keep moving forward.” 

Conrardy will complete her apprenticeship and earn her journeyworker’s license in 2025. She is the only woman in her class. 

“It’s important for our youth to understand different types of professions available and for our young female students to actually see that women play an active role in trades-related occupations,” Bobbi Fields, Moraine Park dean of applied technology and trades, said. “When kids see someone who they can relate to being successful in a career, it increases the likelihood that they could dream of working in that profession someday.”

Written by Emilie Wilson